2 Aug Melbourne: Over 100 ALP stalwarts attend a cold night Fabians led rigorous tax discussion, quite a few with their own proposals in hand. Quite a few from Yarra branches.
MPs Terri Butler and Andrew Giles discussed tax reform with Alison McClelland (former Productivity Commissioner). Some take home stories were:
- Tax is about how we see ourselves in relationship to others (present and future generations).
- Tax must be central to our core vision.
- Inequality is getting worse. We think progressive taxes are good. We must be bolder at telling this story.
- Inequality is in particular worsening in Anglophone countries, due to our tax policies. Inequality is bad for wealth for all.
- A lá Thomas Picketty – power reproduces; rising asset prices lead to an increasing acc/umulation of wealth; the relationship between social, political and financial inequality is tight.
- Our moral position is key. Exactly what tax mechanisms will bring about a fairer Australia is a technical question. It must include the unions.
- The ALP is doing good policy work on negative gearing, deductions cap for income management, trusts crackdown.
- Avoid the language of the right. Stop talking about tax payers’ money. Talk about public money.
- Avoid Rule-In-Rule-Out rules. We need discussion and debate, not confected outrage.
Thanks to the Fabians, as always, carving out a space for social democratic discussion and policy development.
Terri Butler is the QLD Federal Member for Griffith; and Shadow Assistant Minister for Family Violence and Child Safety; Universities; and Equality.
Andrew Giles is the VIC Federal Member for Scullin (north outer metro region); and Shadow Assistant Minister for Schools.